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Optimizing strategic behaviour in a dynamic setting in professional team sports

  • Dobson, Stephen
  • Goddard, John

This article develops a dynamic game-theoretic model of optimizing strategic behaviour by football (soccer) teams. Teams choose between defensive and attacking formations and between a non-violent and a violent playing style, and can vary these choices continuously throughout each match. Starting from the end of the match and working backwards, the teams' optimal strategies conditional on the current state of the match are determined by solving a series of two-player non-cooperative subgames. Numerical simulations are used to explore the sensitivity of strategic behaviour to variations in the structural parameters. The analysis demonstrates that the strategic behaviour of football teams can be rationalized in accordance with game-theoretic principles of optimizing strategic behaviour by agents when payoffs are uncertain and interdependent.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377-2217(10)00032-9
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Operational Research.

Volume (Year): 205 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 661-669

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:205:y:2010:i:3:p:661-669
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eor

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  1. Frick, Bernd & Barros, Carlos Pestana & Prinz, Joachim, 2010. "Analysing head coach dismissals in the German "Bundesliga" with a mixed logit approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 200(1), pages 151-159, January.
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  6. P.-A. Chiappori, 2002. "Testing Mixed-Strategy Equilibria When Players Are Heterogeneous: The Case of Penalty Kicks in Soccer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1138-1151, September.
  7. Annis David H., 2006. "Optimal End-Game Strategy in Basketball," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-11, April.
  8. Palomino, F.A. & Rigotti, L. & Rustichini, A., 1998. "Skill, Strategy and Passion : An Empirical Analysis of Soccer," Discussion Paper 1998-129, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Hirotsu Nobuyoshi & Wright Mike B, 2006. "Modeling Tactical Changes of Formation in Association Football as a Zero-Sum Game," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 1-22, April.
  10. Garicano, Luis & Palacios-Huerta, Ignacio, 2005. "Sabotage in Tournaments: Making the Beautiful Game a Bit Less Beautiful," CEPR Discussion Papers 5231, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Peter Dawson & Stephen Dobson & John Goddard & John Wilson, 2007. "Are football referees really biased and inconsistent?: evidence on the incidence of disciplinary sanction in the English Premier League," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 170(1), pages 231-250.
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